Munich, capital city of Germany's Free State of Bavaria. CIty skyline in the evening light. The Alps visible in the background.
SPARCS Leipzig Espoo
03 april 2024

SPARCS recently had a significant presence at the ASCEND General Assembly held in Munich on 6-8 March. With reflections on project milestones and solutions, world cafés on various smart city topics, and a political session focusing on the role of PCEDs in city climate policies, the assembly provided an invaluable opportunity for collaboration, learning, and strategic alignment in the context of sustainable urban development.

The ASCEND General Assembly was not just a platform for networking but also served as a forum for presenting the SPARCS activities and scope of work. With a shared ambition to accelerate Positive Clean Energy Districts (PCEDs) as pivotal components of sustainable urban landscapes across Europe, the discussions were rich and fruitful.

The assembly had a dynamic agenda, featuring plenary sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities. Interactive sessions such as world cafés and solution package discussions enabled participants to delve into project highlights, shared experiences, and innovative solutions.

Jani Tartia from SPARCS Lighthouse City of Espoo and  Nadja Riedel from SPARCS Lighthouse City of Leipzig, alongside Michal Kuzmič  from Czech Technical University (CVUT), actively participated in discussions concerning positive energy districts (PEDs) and PCEDs. Updates on Energy Communities were also shared, with Bruno Gaiddon from the Energy Communities thematic group leading the discussions. These engagements facilitated a deeper understanding and alignment of objectives between the projects.

A focus on co-creation

A workshop with Stockholm representatives on co-creating a PED toolkit was particularly insightful, aligning with SPARCS’ emphasis on co-creation methodologies. Discussions also centred on scaling up PCEDs, exploring business cases, investment trends, and upcoming steps regarding web platforms and cross-collaboration.

Espoo and Leipzig also actively participated in the Scalable Cities City Coordinators Group meeting, further strengthening collaboration and knowledge exchange.

The assembly concluded with a site visit to Munich’s PCED demonstration district in Harthof and the Domagk Park, offering insights into various sustainability initiatives such as mobility hubs, social housing retrofitting projects, participatory activities, and integrated renewable energy systems.